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D-Day Through French Eyes

Normandy 1944

A gripping account of what it was like to be in the midst of the Norman Invasion on D-Day and immediately afterward.
 Silent parachutes dotting the night sky—that’s how one woman in Normandy in June 1944 learned that the D-Day invasion was underway. Though they yearned for liberation, the people of Normandy steeled themselves for further warfare, knowing that their homes, land, and fellow citizens would have to bear the brunt of the attack. In D-Day through French Eyes, Mary Louise Roberts resets our view of the usual stories of that momentous operation, taking readers across the Channel to view the invasion anew. Roberts builds her history from an impressive range of gripping first-person accounts from French citizens, reinvigorating a story we thought we knew. The result is a fresh perspective on the heroism, sacrifice, and achievement of D-Day.

Read an excerpt.
An audiobook version is available.

240 pages | 2 halftones, 2 line drawings | 6 x 9 | © 2014

History: European History, General History, Military History


"In the great tradition of Studs Terkel and Is Paris Burning?, Mary Louise Roberts uses the diaries and memoirs of French civilians to narrate a history of the French at D-Day that has for too long been occluded by the mythology of the allied landing. Students approaching WWII history for the first time will now be able to go beyond the beachhead and think deeply about the French-American encounter in all its complexity. For the French, liberation meant American heroes--demigods packing Hershey’s chocolate and chouine gomme--and it also meant the destruction of property and the loss of life, the violent end to years of waiting. The switch of point of view from American to French is an exercise in empathy that renews history at the core. What a great idea and what a gripping and artful book!"

Alice Kaplan, author of Dreaming in French

"A moving examination of how French civilians experienced the fighting."


"Roberts’s work is commendable, finally, because her work reminds readers that D-Day was not only a positive event that reestablished freedom, but that its cost was tragically high for all concerned."

New York Journal of Books

"The author shows great skill in allowing these eyewitnesses to 'speak for themselves,'  vividly evoking their experiences of the tragedy, the brutality, the destruction, the joy, and the fear that the invasion brought. . . . In its treatment of an often neglected aspect of military history, this will be an attractive acquisition for all libraries."


Table of Contents

1: The Night of All Nights
2: The Paras
3: Devastation
4: The First Glimpse
5: Sharing a Battlefield
6: Making Friends

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